It’s branches stretch up towards the stars, as it towers over the buildings. The regal Oak tree at Disneyland is a tribute to legendary author Ray Bradbury, and his 1972 novel “The Halloween Tree. Every year the tree comes to life with lights, and pumpkins, not only as a tribute to the man and story, but to the idea of Halloween. The tree was dedicated in 2007 to Ray Bradybury, who was not only a fan of Disney, but also helped Disney create many of the beloved icons we know and love. But this isn’t a story about Bradbury, per se.
The novel, which later became an animated movie written and narrated by Bradbury, tells the tale of a group of friends who go out trick or treating, when one of their friends essentially dies. They learn the meaning and history of Halloween and learn how to save their friend. It’s a classic story that’s over 40 years old, so I won’t mind spoiling it for you.
To save their friend, each one of the group has to give a year of their lives. They all agree, after all when you’re young, what’s a year? You hardly think about it, and of course you are doing it for the noblest of causes.
As you get older though, that year starts to weigh heavily. If you only had that one year back, what would you do?
It’s been something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, especially since I am eyeing down the barrel of 40. My kids are growing up, and I can’t tell you how many times I wish I had one more year of my kids being younger. One more year. I’ve invested over eight years with Behind the Thrills, and honestly I look at it sometimes and I wonder if it’s worth it.
The point of The Halloween Tree is that we should celebrate death, as well as life. Many cultures do it, and really that’s what all of our traditions are…a celebration of death. We wear masks to trick the ghosts who roam the night. We light Jack-O-Lanterns to ward off those who might get too close. We give treats to be thankful for another year that we get to celebrate the world of the dead, through the eyes of the living. One more year.
So, tonight on All Hallows Eve we look to the Halloween Tree and it’s lessons. We have one more year. Be passionate about it, and celebrate it. You never know how much time you have, so make sure you live your life the way you want to live it.
The Halloween Tree shines bright at Disneyland, every Halloween. It’s a great reminder of the holiday, and what it truly means for us all. One more year.